Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in El Reno, OK

  • Published 2023/02/07

Famous for its fried onion burger, El Reno promises many exceptional adventures year-round.

The city is the county seat of Canadian County, Oklahoma.

During the 1889 land run, the area was founded and named after the nearby Fort Reno, established to watch over the place.

The historic Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes were the city’s first inhabitants before the Europeans arrived in the mid-1800s.

Today, the city has exceptional entertainment and recreational activities for tourists and locals.

Spend some time at the casino, grab a delicious fried onion burger at one of the city’s finest restaurants, or sit at a park and watch nature at its finest.

These are just some fun adventures that await you in this beautiful city.

Here are the best things to do in El Reno, Oklahoma:

Learn about the History of War at Historic Fort Reno

Grounds of the Historic Fort Reno

RaksyBH /

In 1875, Fort Reno was established during the Indian Uprising, which led to the Red River War.

Named after the American Civil War hero, General Jesse L. Reno, the fort watched over the Southern Cheyenne and Southern Arapaho reserves.

Today, the 9.9-acre fort is preserved as a national treasure for its significance in the history of the war in the state and the U.S.

Building at the Historic Fort Reno

JMcQ /

The fort contains several historical structures, such as an old post-church and the cemetery, artifacts, archives, and beautiful, well-maintained grounds.

In 1970, the historic Fort Reno was also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

It’s located on West Cheyenne Street.

A house at the Historic Fort Reno

RaksyBH /

Spend an Entire Day at Lake El Reno

Perfect for traveling families, Lake El Reno offers fun and family-friendly outdoor experiences that everyone loves.

Created in 1966, the lake encompasses 170 acres with around four miles of shoreline.

Visitors can enjoy fishing here without the city’s required permit.

However, you need a state permit to fish anywhere in Oklahoma.

If you have little ones, the lake has designated swimming areas where you can have fun in the water.

Boating, camping, and picnicking are also popular activities at the lake.

Lake El Reno is a perfect escape for families and friends visiting the county or the City of El Reno with lots of outdoor activities.

Grab a Delicious Meal at Swadley’s Bar-B-Q

If you want delicious meals in El Reno, nothing beats Swadley’s Bar-B-Q with its mouthwatering smoked meat, brisket, and many more.

You can grab smoked ribs with spicy baked beans or create your plate to your liking.

The restaurant, which has seven locations, was voted Oklahoma’s best barbecue restaurant, serving never-frozen meat smoked to perfection.

If you’re a barbecue person, this spot offers a welcoming atmosphere and delectable meals ready for every palate.

Swadley’s Bar-B-Q is owned and operated by the Swadleys, who followed in their grandfather’s footsteps in providing quality and delicious smoked meats over 80 years ago.

In El Reno, you can find the restaurant on Highway 66.

Join the Fried Onion Burger Day Festival

The Fried Onion Burger Day Festival attracts more than 25,000 people to celebrate the popular event every May.

The festival honors the famous fried onion burgers that diners and cafes in El Reno have made since the 1900s.

It highlights the making of the 850-lb fried onion burger created by local diners in the city.

Thousands of people attend the festival to try this famous local treat.

Enjoy the delicious burgers, live music, car and motorcycle shows, food vendors, rides, games, and many more!

The Fried Onion Burger Day Festival is held in downtown El Reno.

Step into the Past at the Canadian County Historical Museum

Exterior of the Canadian County Historical Museum

MARELBU, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Preserving local history, the Canadian County Historical Museum features many things to see and learn about Oklahoma, Canadian County, and El Reno.

As soon as you step in, you’ll feel how the museum successfully maintains the culture and heritage for generations.

Chartered in 1968, the museum features many local artifacts, archives, photographs, and more.

Facade of the Canadian County Historical Museum

MARELBU, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

See the old schoolhouse, a caboose and railroad cars, an old hotel, a chapel, and many other historical structures that define the history of the state and the city.

History buffs can check out this vital information and take a trolley tour throughout the city.

The Canadian County Historical Museum is located on South Grand Avenue.

Locomotives at the Canadian County Historical Museum

MARELBU, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Roll a Strike at El Reno Bowl

Bowling is right up El Reno’s alley!

If you want to spend some time with your family or friends indoors, head to El Reno Bowl and leave no pins standing.

The alley features 16 bowling lanes for all skill levels and ages, offering fun and challenging rounds for the bowlers.

It also offers an All You Can Bowl special every Friday and Saturday with bowling shoes included, which is popular among family or groups of friends bowlers.

There’s also a snack bar, great food, and a game room.

El Reno Bowl also hosts special events, including birthday parties, bachelor parties, and more.

Roll it down at El Reno Bowl on Sunset Drive.

See a Movie at El Reno Cinema 8

Screening mainstream films in a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere, El Reno Cinema 8 is the go-to spot in town for movie-goers.

The theater features surround sound and nice stadium-style seating to enjoy the movie.

They offer great deals for movie tickets almost every week, so you’ll have to look out for them as soon as you visit El Reno.

What makes it even more fun to visit is the arcade feature of the cinema, where you can play games while waiting for a movie to start or even after it’s finished.

They have delicious popcorn, by the way!

El Reno Cinema 8 is a contemporary eight-screen theater off South Country Club Road.

Ride the El Reno Heritage Express

A trolley at El Reno Heritage Express

Kool Cats Photography over 10 Million Views from Edmond, OK, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The El Reno Heritage Express is a J.G. Brill Strafford streetcar that runs from the Canadian County Historical Museum to a balloon loop downtown El Reno.

For those visiting the city, taking a trolley tour gets you to many different stops along the way for a small fee.

This allows you to see the city without walking and a chance to ride El Reno’s only operating rail-based streetcar.

Established in 2001, the El Reno Heritage Express trolley ran 1.5 miles and was the only streetcar in the state until the Oklahoma City Streetcar opened in 2018.

The restored 1924 Brill streetcar runs for varying hours year-round.

You can start your ride on the grounds of the Canadian County Historical Museum on South Grand Avenue.

Play Frisbee at Adams Park

Frisbee enthusiasts can play a few rounds at Adams Park, which features an 18-hole disc golf course in a picturesque setting.

The park offers an excellent disc golf area with shady trees and grassy space for convenience and comfortable rounds.

It’s El Reno’s most-visited park because of its convenient location and state-of-the-art facilities, including the rodeo arena and the skatepark.

There are also other athletic fields, including the four baseball fields.

The kids can also enjoy the playground areas and a picnic at one of the park’s covered pavilions.

Adams Park is located on Route 66.

Take Painting Lessons at the Goff House Inn

Exterior of the Goff House Inn

MARELBU, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You can take painting lessons at the Goff House Inn, which allows you to bring your artwork home once it’s finished.

Formerly a bed & breakfast, the 120-year-old Victorian house owned by the Goff family is now a painting studio.

Sabrina, the artist who guides and teaches visitors how to paint, hosts Paint Par-teas at the historic house.

While making your masterpiece, you’ll be served delicious snacks, cocktails, and specialty treats.

The Goff House Inn is located on South Evans Avenue.

Enjoy Tee Time at Crimson Creek Golf Course

Book tee time at Crimson Creek Golf Course, where you can play a few rounds at its 18-hole course with a par of 72.

The facility beams with a beautiful backdrop of Lake El Reno, offering sweeping water views, decent fairways, lovely rolling hills, and excellent greens.

In 1960, Crimson Creek opened as a nine-hole course.

Then, renowned golf course architect P.B. Dye, Jr. re-designed the facility and added nine more holes in 1998.

The first nine holes are of the traditional layout, while the addition of 9 holes offers a links-style feel.

Owned and operated by the City of El Reno, Crimson Creek Golf Course also hosts special events and tournaments.

It’s also home to the Redlands Community College Girl’s Golf Team.

You can find it on Babcock Drive.

Take the Kids to Legion Park Splash Pad

In the summer, Legion Park’s splash pad opens to the public, where smaller kids can have fun and enjoy the water.

The kids will love playing with the water sprays while interacting with other children visiting the park.

There’s also a swimming pool if you want to cool down with the little ones as long as they’re under adult supervision.

They can also socialize and play at the playgrounds with separate areas for the smaller and bigger kids.

Fishing is also allowed at the pond, which kids will love.

Legion Park is located off South Reno Avenue.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Go outside city limits and discover Oklahoma’s best-kept secrets.

These attractions are equally beautiful, family-friendly, and only a few minutes from El Reno!

Try Your Luck at Lucky Star Casino

Lucky Star Casino offers more than 1,000 fun and exciting games, from classic to the newest.

Inside the 0.91-acre casino, you can play its latest games, or you can choose to play the classics, including the Wheel of Fortune and Mr. Moneybags.

It also features an isolated Poker Room, Black Jack tables, and high-limit machines.

If you need something to eat, the restaurant inside the casino offers delicious steaks, burgers, salads, sandwiches, and many more.

So, if you’re up for a night of fun, challenging, and exciting activity in El Reno, make Lucky Star Casino your destination!

You can find it on Highway 81, Concho, Oklahoma, seven minutes from El Reno.

Step into the Myriad Botanical Gardens

Conservatory at Myriad Botanical Gardens

Alonzo J. Adams /

Breathe fresh air and be surrounded by beautiful blooms and natural areas at Myriad Botanical Gardens in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

The 15-acre green space features ornamental gardens and landscaped areas surrounding the underwater lake.

See the pretty flowers in bloom and the fabulous grounds that host seasonal activities for children and adults, including spring bulb displays and interactive programs.

Interior of Myriad Botanical Gardens conservatory

EQRoy /

The Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory inside Myriad Botanical Gardens is one of the highlights, featuring beautiful flora and fauna.

Established in 1964, Myriad Botanical Gardens is a 29-minute drive from El Reno.

It’s located on West Reno Avenue.

Pumpkin event at Myriad Botanical Gardens

Kit Leong /

Explore the Express Clydesdales Barn

If you love farms and horses, Express Clydesdales Barn offers a family-friendly experience where you can get closer to the horses and see the expansive barn’s amenities.

The barn beams with walnut trim, beautiful pine walls, and brass coach lights.

It also hosts many special occasions and events like birthday parties, weddings, business meetings, and more.

You’ll also get the chance to see the panoramic views of the Oklahoma rolling hills and the historic Chisholm Trail from the barn’s loft.

Express Clydesdales Barn is a 20-minute drive from El Reno to Yukon, Oklahoma.

Final Thoughts

Beaming with rich history and heritage combined with stunning attractions, El Reno is one of Oklahoma’s gems.

Discover and experience the best things to do in El Reno, Oklahoma and come home filled with joys and memories.

Start planning your trip today!

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